Before You Remarry, Do This...
If remarriage is on your horizon, congratulations! It can be an exciting new adventure, as well as an opportunity to make key investment decisions alongside your spouse.
Remarriage is on the rise. Sixty-seven percent of previously married adults between the ages of 55-64 are remarried, up from 55 percent in 1960.1 People are living longer, and when they find the right partner again, they opt for matrimony.
Overall, women are less likely than men to remarry, with 64 percent of eligible men remarrying, compared to 52 percent of women. However, this 12-point gender gap was a 20-point gap in 1980, when only 46 percent of women had remarried, compared with 66 percent of eligible men. (1)
What’s this mean? Today’s women are embracing remarriage. But it’s a choice born of freedom: Women who remarry have presumably been solely responsible for their financial well-being—at least for a time. We learned from UBS’s “Own your worth” report, which features research data on women who have been divorced or widowed, that nine out of 10 women felt good about themselves as they made more financial decisions on their own. (2)
If you are planning to remarry right now or even in the distant future, here are four actions you should consider taking before you exchange your vows.
1) Assess your financial baggage. Review for yourself how you participated in the financial decisions in your first marriage. Were you happy with the arrangement? If not, what about it frustrated you or left you unsatisfied? A second marriage can be a chance to revise your role in making important financial decisions, especially if you tended to take a backseat to your spouse in your previous marriage. In fact, 79 percent of women who remarry do take a more active role the second time around. (2)
2) Be clear on your financial goals. What do you want for your future? How does your marriage play into that? These are lofty questions. That’s why eight out of 10 women find it helpful to think about wealth along three different dimensions. (2)
a) Liquidity: The cash at your disposal, which you need for short-term expenses over the next three or so years.
b) Longevity: Savings and investments you can use for longer-term needs, from the next four years into retirement.
c) Legacy: The investments that will continue after you’re gone, and can help others with their needs.
Thinking through these dimensions helps you sort out what you aim to accomplish now and in the future. What do you want your legacy to be? How will you achieve these things? Who are the people who matter most to you?
1) Have the important conversations. Have meaningful conversations with your soon-to-be-spouse. This may be second nature to you, particularly if you were able to have good discussions about finances in your first marriage. But deep-dive conversations about money still feel taboo for some couples. Not only does each partner bring his or her own ideas about money and investing into the marriage, if it’s a second marriage and/or a marriage later in life, each partner already has quite a bit of life experience and financial history. Getting everything out into the open is key.
2) Increase your confidence in making investment decisions. Women often feel unsure about investing. Just 29 percent of women in heterosexual couples consider themselves highly knowledgeable about investing, and only 25 percent of women in same-sex couples say they’re highly knowledgeable. (2) Over and over again, we’ve found that women lack confidence because they overestimate how much knowledge you need to make investment decisions. In fact, 85 percent of married women who abdicate to their spouses when it comes to making long-term financial decisions do so because they believe their spouses know more. (2) The truth is, it doesn’t take nearly as much experience to make investment decisions as women think. It does, however, take confidence. If you started to develop that confidence after a divorce or in widowhood, make sure to keep building it and channeling it as you settle into a new partnership.
Life is long, and we often find ourselves with a second chance to find the contentment or adventure we’re seeking. Remarrying can be that opportunity. If you enter into matrimony with a solid plan around your financial goals and aspirations, the best is yet to come.
(1) Pew Research Center, “Four-in-Ten Couples are Saying ‘I Do,’ Again,” November 2014. pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2014/11/2014-11-14_remarriage-final.pdf
(2) “Own your worth: How women can break the cycle of abdication and take control of their wealth,” UBS Wealth Management USA, 2018.
This article has been written and provided by UBS Financial Services Inc. for use by its Financial Advisors. In providing wealth management services to clients, we offer both investment advisory and brokerage services, which are separate and distinct and differ in material ways. For information, including the different laws and contracts that govern, visit ubs.com/workingwithus.
UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC.